Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard, DOM PACELLO's "forgotten royal paradise". A 40-acre royal jewel in the heart of Amboise, designed by King François 1st's Master Gardener.
The first orange trees ever planted in France
A great magical site of the Renaissance has just opened to the public after five years of careful renovations, led by 50 companies and 300 craftsmen from the Loire Valley.
Château Gaillard is where the first Renaissance gardens were planted in France and the location of several creations designed by Dom Pacello de Mercogliano for the King, «Europe's most famous gardener» such as the first orange trees in France, the Reine Claude plum, orange trees boxes, the warm greenhouses, embroidered squares.
The Italian epic
Back from his first campaign in Italy in 1496, young King Charles VIII, son of Louis XI, along with 10000 French knights, fell in love with the beauty of Italian cities and villas.
King Ferdinand the Catholic's villa in Naples, named Poggio Reale, enchanted him with its extraordinary gardens, its exotic flowers and its voluptuous fruits and orange gardens.
Charles VIII stayed there for three months, gathered 30 tons of art, books and plants then came back with a squad of 22 Italian artists, seriously willing to recreate in Amboise his first mediterranean emotions.
Creating an earthly paradise
The chateau stands in a nice valley watered by river Amasse, on the southern slope coming down the neolithic plateau of Caesar's oppidum. In a crevice of the tuf stone, the master craftsmen found a perfect site, away from the northern winds and heated by the sweet mid-day sun. They used it to create their dream of the "Royal earthly paradise"
«Only Adam and Eve are missing to make of this wonderful paradise a new Eden» so spoke King Charles VIII of Château Gaillard.
Dom Pacello «The dear Master of King François 1st»
The site of Château Gaillard, was Dom Pacello's true experimental laboratory, setting of his "Arte del verde" and took the name "Gardens of the King" from 1500.
Dom Pacello's wonderful gardens have just been renovated and are a unique and unusual example of the first Renaissance birthplace and the unprecedented meeting between Italian and French artists.
Dom Pacello invents, sculpts the plants, creates embroidered squares reminding of the four rivers of Paradise (water, milk, honey and wine) using holly, bay trees, thyme, rosemary, sage, lavender colored by slate powder and crushed terra cota.
François 1st offered Château Gaillard to his « dear and beloved Pacello » for an anual bouquet of orange blossoms, a rare example of royal gift to his servant... how extraordinary was he!
Dom Pacello, after having served three kings of France, died in Blois aged 87.
The site of Domaine Royal de Château Gaillard :
. Dom Pacello's gardens
. The Royal Limonaia-Orangery and its 20 species of citruses
. The forest in the middle of the city, the seven paths of heaven, centenary trees
. The castle, its sculpted facade, its 12 grottoes
. The unique collection of polychromatic stained-glass windows and illuminated madallions
. The exhibitions (History of orange treers, photos of the castle's renovation)
Opening hours and rates 2017
. The Castle and the Grounds are open to the public from April 1st to November 5th
. 1.00 pm to 7.00 pm
. Full rate: 11 €
. Children: 7 € (7 to18)
. Reduced rate: 10 €
. Group rate: 10 €
. Free for children under 7
Please note that guided tours are included in the entrance fees